Since the new CBA arrived the value of picks and prospects has been a moving target. Generally speaking the value of kids who are not established at the NHL level is low compared to previous years (and decades), but it’s hard to evaluate just how much air has been let out of the tires.
In Jim Matheson’s Sunday column in the Edmonton Journal, he mentioned that Kevin Lowe was scouting the Bruins the other day. He dropped the names of JF Jacques (in photo, scoring a goal. File it under ‘mirage’) and Boston winger Glen Murray as being players of interest from both sides.
Is this a deal that could be made in today’s NHL? Could a team like Boston be convinced to send away a 35-year old winger (making 4 large) who scored 28 goals a year ago in exchange for a kid who can’t get out of his own way in the show despite showing some nice things in the minors?
In the olden days (pre 2005) you’d get a guy like Glenn Murray for someone like Brian Savage (poor man’s unhealthy version of Murray) and a pick, maybe a 3rd or at the deadline a 2nd. Nowadays if you can take on salary you can get a Murray for a 7th round pick. Sure, sometimes you can trade a Paul Mara for an Aaron Ward, but much of the dealing now is with regard to money.
So then, if we’re considering Murray to Edmonton the salary (4.15M this and next season) is central to the issue. If Edmonton wanted him and could take on that salary without sending much $$ back, then he’d be an Oiler by now. I should mention here that Murray is struggling badly and that would further reduce his trade value.
Let’s have a look at a somewhat similar deal in recent NHL history:
- Phoenix Coyotes traded Georges Laraque to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Daniel Carcillo and a 3rd round selection in 2008.
That deal happened in February. I believe Laraque had 1 more year on his contract, so this was a deadline rental plus a season (please correct me if I’m wrong) which is similar to the Murray’s current situation. Laraque is much less expensive (1.3M) in 07-08 and that has value too. Of course, he wasn’t expected to score 25-30 goals like Murray was/is, so that has to factor into our equation.
Jacques was drafted 68th overall in 2003, Carcillo 73rd overall, same year. They have had somewhat similar careers although at this point Carcillo’s value is way higher. He looks like the next Avery currently, but that isn’t really the point. His value is higher because he’s been given an everyday job and is getting consistent at-bats in the show. At the time he was traded, Carcillo had 30 points in 52 gp for the WBS Penguins (AHL). Jacques had 27 points in 29gp for the same team, same season.
In Feb 2007, I think you can make the case that they had similar values. Boston (according to Matty) was interested at the deadline. So, maybe they still are, and maybe Lowe wants Murray to play RW (in a Hemsky-Nilsson-Pisani-Murray combo) in order to stay out of the lottery.
I think Murray’s extra season at 4+M hurts his value, and that Laraque’s unique skill set increased his value to a young team in need of exactly what the big man brings every night. Those factors should more than offset the difference between Carcillo and Jacques in terms of value, leaving us with the obvious conclusion that the pick should come back the other way instead of going to Boston.
Would that be fair value? JF Jacques to Boston for Glen Murray and a 2008 3rd round pick? Probably. Jacques hasn’t earned an NHL job and may not be worth a future 3rd rder, but Murray’s value is negative and sways the pendulum.
Would I be thrilled if Kevin Lowe made that deal? No.
Why? Oilers aren’t going anywhere this season, Murray is 35 and signed for another year at 4M+ AND since January 1st 2007 he has scored exactly 10 goals in 39 NHL games. His goal scoring totals have been in decline for some time (44,32,24,28 in the last 4 full seasons) and this season he’s not scoring while playing monster minutes (18:14 a game, third on the Bruins among forwards) and optimum minutes (3:53 a night on the PP, second among Bruin forwards).
He’s a 35-year old scorer who isn’t scoring goals this season. Sure, he could come out of it and pop 25 goals in the last 60 games this season.
If the Bruins want Jacques and the Oilers have no plans for him, grab the pick and let Glen Murray play out his career in Boston. The Bruins on the other hand should play the hell out of him, hope he pops 5 in a week and then deal him to Toronto for Anton Stralman. The Bruins have done a nice job of plucking Leafs’ prospects up over the last while, perhaps they can do it again.